Hand on heart, were you too one of those who used last year’s lockdowns to declutter and tidy up your surroundings?
If there was one inescapable realization spanning every stratum of society that emerged from the lockdowns forced on us by the pandemic, it was this: just how strong an influence our immediate environment exerts upon our consciousness, thoughts, and feelings. And it was precisely this, as well as other topics, that we discussed on your behalf with internationally renowned Feng Shui expert Theresia Stillhart.
Ms. Stillhart, in your own words and based on your experience, how would you explain Feng Shui to a layman?
Feng Shui can not only improve the various aspects of life at a particular place, it also leads to a greater awareness of oneself and others. A knowledge of Feng Shui allows one to decipher the potential of a place and utilize it for oneself.
Good Feng Shui promotes health, wellbeing, creativity, relationships, self-confidence, contemplation and respect.
I have read that Feng Shui is not so much a closed system as a component of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), so that the space that one inhabits comes to be seen as a “third human skin”. Can you explain this perspective to our readers?
I need to correct you here. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Feng Shui are two separate Chinese sciences that exist independently of one another. Although to some extent they use the same basic principles, such as the five elements, yin and yang. Put simply, Feng Shui is concerned with the atmosphere of a place and its effect on human beings. Whereas traditional Chinese medicine deals with the function, diagnosis, and healing of the human body.
And yes, unfavorable living situations sooner or later impact on the health of those who inhabit them. When the energy (Qi) from outside is negatively affected by buildings and streets, or does not flow correctly inside the premises, or is interrupted, this results in stagnation. And this in turn goes hand in hand with stress and impairment of health. For a practitioner of TCM, information about the situation in which a patient lives can be very helpful.
The first priority for any Feng Shui concept is the health of the occupants. However affluent one may be, one cannot buy health. Only when this point has been satisfactorily dealt with can one move on to address the occupants’ other concerns.
A distinction is drawn between Yin Zhai – the Feng Shui for burial sites, and Yang Zhai – the Feng Shui for houses and living spaces
feng shui living space
As a first step, how might potential newcomers to Feng Shui perhaps classify and analyze their own living space according to Feng Shui criteria?
- First of all, it is important to define one’s own personal goals and desires, and examine whether the location and the living space meet these requirements. Do not be deceived by outward appearances.
- A house or apartment in the vicinity of green spaces, trees, or water is always a very big plus.
- The ground plan should as far as possible not exhibit any missing sectors. It is important for energy to be able to spread evenly within the building.
- The forecourt and entrance doors are the keys to success. This area stands both for development and success, and for contact and connection with the outside world. You should design this area to be open and bright, and keep it clean and tidy at all times.
- In case of difficulties in a work environment, one should first check the positioning of one’s desk, or try to work for a while from a different place.
Please tell us a little about where your customers come from, and what, in this context, they are most frequently confronted with.
In 90% of cases, an expert Feng Shui appraisal is required on site. So, many customers come from Switzerland and the surrounding European countries. But there are also projects located in the USA, Central America, South East Asia and South Africa. Travelling is part of my work.
I am currently working with a client who is looking for a suitable property for herself and her family in Washington DC. Commissions have increased substantially during the pandemic. For many people, home is the focal point of their interest in life. My clients come from all walks of life.
People’s expectations of a Feng Shui expert are wide-ranging, from the suitability of building plots and site analyses to the development and oversight of new building and conversion projects. I very often receive requests to check out properties for sale or rent, or to optimize properties that are already occupied.
At the beginning of each new calendar year, inquiries arrive asking about the opportunities and risks for the year ahead, and which rooms will have the best Qi this year, and how best to use them. In addition to the Qi of the surroundings, Feng Shui also integrates the Qi of time into all issues and solutions.
In your experience, why is it possible to exert a positive influence over outwardly unfavorable life or work situations through Feng Shui?
There is a maxim that I have carried with me since I began my work:
Nothing happens without a reason. Nothing remains forever good, nothing is forever bad. Constant change is part of the process of life. But with Feng Shui, the process can be guided in a good direction.
It is first necessary to establish what is wrong at the place in question, why and since when. Nor should the time factor and the behavior of the occupants be ignored. Taking all these things together, a picture emerges that enables one to search for an optimal, implementable solution.
Where it is possible with the help of Feng Shui formulae to alter the flow of energy at a place and so eliminate the interference factors, the situation can change for the better. This might involve construction work, or a change in the use of the building.
Whereby it is a precondition that the client must implement the concept 100%.
“There can always be problems in life. What matters is how we react to them and what we make of a situation.”
You yourself have studied under two Chinese Feng-Shui grand masters, Yap Cheng Hai in Kuala Lumpur and Lau Kai Chi in Hong Kong, and spent many years training privately and institutionally. Where did your interest originate from, was there a trigger?
All I can say is, I never planned on a career in Feng Shui!
In the mid 90’s I found myself intensively involved in Chinese calligraphy and the Chinese art of landscape painting, Shan Shui. And about that time, a neighbor who had obviously misunderstood the topic, gifted me a book about Feng Shui. The text was pitched at a fairly general level, easily understood, but it nevertheless aroused my interest in the subject, and I began to seek out authentic sources. Fortunately, it was also the time at which Feng Shui masters began to teach Western pupils.
In 2001 I began to study under the Feng Shui grand master Yap Cheng Hai. Some years later at his instigation, I then began to teach Feng Shui courses at the Yap Cheng Hai Academy. About a decade later I commenced my studies with Feng Shui grand master Lau Kai Chi in Hong Kong. Both were distinguished experts in the various fields of classical Chinese Feng Shui. Both of them not only talked about theories, but also showed me how to apply them in practice. I learned from them which Feng Shui methods make sense, and how important it is to be precise in their application if one is to succeed.
“All things in this world are connected with one another and interact with one another.Nothing exists for itself alone.”
Among the best-known applications in Feng Shui are the Luan Tou, San He, San Yuen, Xuan Kong Da Gua and Ba Zhai methods.
water dragon method
Among other topics, you have studied the so-called water dragon method, as well as Ba Zi interpretation. What lies behind these technical terms?
The water dragon method is supreme among Feng Shui applications, its function being to multiply wealth.
It involves natural or artificially created watercourses, with which one can alter the Qi on a plot of land to one’s advantage.
I have myself designed some of these watercourses, or adapted buildings to suit naturally existing waters. This is a very complex matter. Everything, inside and out, must be harmonized. The structural and technical implementation must exactly follow the design plan. Any errors here will quickly lead to unwanted problems.
What is Ba zi? Four Pillars of Destiny
Ba Zi is a complex, highly exact forecasting technique that is calculated using a person’s birth data. The method is one of the Chinese divination techniques, and gives an insight into the subject’s way of life. It includes information about opportunities and risks, mentality and character. Prior to every consultation, I calculate the client’s Ba Zi. This enables me to rapidly recognize strengths and weaknesses, and helps me to find the most suitable Feng Shui solution for the client.
Ba Zi translates as “8 signs” and is also known as the “4 pillars of fate”. Often, Ba Zi is described as Chinese astrology. However, the method relates not to the constellations of stars and planets, but to the five elements that predominate at the time of birth and their interactions.
Lost in Translation
Is there an anecdote relating to your work that you would like to share with us, something that is particularly memorable?
On one occasion, I was invited to a meeting with a local Feng Shui master in the vicinity of Hong Kong. He wanted to show me some interesting places and buildings. Since he spoke no English, I organized a translator. It was an unmitigated disaster. The translation for the most part made no sense. The person tried her best, but she possessed absolutely no knowledge of Feng Shui.
Theresia Stillhart’s motto for life?
You never stop learning! 😉
The Luo Pan is the principal tool of a Feng Shui master.
In addition to the compass, it determines direction and time and the qualities of individual positions. These data in turn form the basis for the analysis of a place. A peculiarity: it uses the data for magnetic north.
This Chinese compass has been in use for over 2000 years.